Starting in the late 1990s, at a time when most other banks would not lend him money, Donald Trump found a financial lifeline in the German-based Deutsche Bank, which loaned him approximately $1 billion. Now, Thomas Bowers, the Deutsche Bank executive who allegedly signed off on many of the loans to the president, has died, reportedly taking his own life.
According to a report by the independent journalism site Forensic News, Bowers died on November 19 at his home in Malibu, California. Citing a Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's report, Forensic News founder Scott Stedman reported that Bowers committed suicide by hanging. The former Deutsche Bank exec was 55-years-old.
The personal banker who approved over $300 million in "high risk" loans for Trump, according to Forensic News, was Rosemary Vrablic. Bowers was her supervisor as head of the bank's American wealth-management division.
Vrablic was introduced to Trump by Jared Kushner, the New York real estate empire scion who married the president's daughter, Ivanka. According to a New York Times account, the White House advisor considered Vrablic "the best banker he had ever worked with."
The bank's investigation of Trump's finances found that he reported values of his real estate assets that were too high by 70 percent in many cases. Nonetheless, Vrablic and Bowers approved a $100 million loan for the president to buy the Doral Golf Resort and Spa outside of Miami, Florida, according to the Times report.
In a highly unusual transaction, the two Deutsche Bank executives also approved a $48 million loan for Trump to pay back a debt he owed to the financial institution itself. According to The New York Times, the president still owed the money to Deutsche Bank's investment banking division. Vrablic and Bowers were executives in the institution's private banking operation.
The New York Times also called Trump's scheme to borrow money from one division of the bank to pay back a loan from a different division, "an extraordinary act of financial chutzpah." Yet Vrablic and Bowers signed off on the loan after the bank's chief executive, Josef Ackermann, gave the green light, the paper reported.
The relationship between Trump, Vrablic, and Bowers allowed the bank to loan the president another $170 million in 2015 to refurbish the Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C., into a new Trump-branded hotel. Deutsche Bank also provided underwriting for the president's attempt to buy the Buffalo Bills -- a bid that ultimately failed, according to the New York Times report.
The FBI, which has been investigating Deutsche Bank, has already "asked about Bowers and what documents he might have," according to Stedman, reporting via his Twitter account.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.